You are legally obligated to help financially support your children, which is why child support exists. However, sometimes the amount that you were ordered to pay is no longer affordable due to a recent life change that affects your income.
If this is the case, it may be possible to reduce the amount of child support you pay. Just keep in mind that judges do not take child support reductions lightly, so be prepared to prove that you cannot afford the amount you’re paying. Hiring an experienced Texas family law attorney is the best way to help you get the outcome you’re looking for.
Are You Eligible to Apply for a Reduction in Child Support?
Before you can even apply, you have to meet two requirements. First, your current child custody order must have been created at least three years ago. In addition to this, the amount you pay monthly must differ by either $100 or 20% from the amount that you would have to pay according to the Texas court’s guidelines.
If both of those are not true for you, the only other way to get a reduction in child support is to show that there has been a material and substantial change in your circumstances since the last child support order was put in place. This means a recent event has changed your income so much that you can no longer afford your monthly payment.
What Changes Can Reduce Child Support Payments?
Texas courts will only consider certain life changes when reducing child support. Basically, the changes must be so drastic that it is clear you cannot pay what you were ordered to pay.
For instance, if you lost your job or got a substantial pay cut, child support may be reduced. The same goes if you cannot work due to being seriously ill or incarcerated. In addition, if you are responsible for financially supporting another child now and do not have as much disposable income as before, you may be able to reduce child support payments.
Do You Have to Go to Court to Modify Child Support?
If you tell your child’s custodial parent that you need to reduce child support due to job loss or other life changes, it’s possible that he or she will agree to accept a lower amount. The good news is that this can reduce the amount of time you spend in court.
However, you will need a new court order to reduce child support, so do not stop paying the requested amount until you get this. You and the other parent will have to sign an agreement and get it approved by a Texas judge first. If you have any questions about this process, contact our Bedford law firm at (817) 813-8513 for legal guidance.